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Wynn Macau Shares Jump 13 Percent In HK Debut

Billionaire Steven Wynn's Macau casino company jumped 13 percent in its trading debut on the Hong Kong stock exchange Friday, reflecting stronger faith in the southern Chinese gambling city's prospects.

Wynn Macau Ltd. shares peaked at 11.4 Hong Kong dollars ($1.47) before falling back and trading at HK$10.94 in the afternoon.

Shares in the initial public offering were sold at HK$10.08 each, the high end of range at which they were marketed to investors, raising $1.63 billion. The offering, representing a 25 percent stake in Wynn's Macau operations, was Hong Kong's second-biggest of the year and among its most watched due partly to the novelty of a well-known, high-end American company deciding to list on the Chinese financial center's exchange.

Las Vegas-based Wynn operates one resort in Macau, the world's largest gambling market, and has a second scheduled to open next year.

The robust demand for Wynn's stock was partly due to better investor sentiment following a revival in Macau, located an hour's ferry ride from Hong Kong and the one place in China where gambling is legal.

Revenue growth started tapering off during the depths of the economic crisis but has picked up in recent months thanks to a stronger Chinese economy and an easing of visa restrictions on mainland gamblers who are the lifeblood of the city's casinos. In August, the enclave had its best month ever, raking in almost 11.4 billion patacas ($1.4 billion).

The IPO precedes a similar move by Las Vegas Sands Corp., led by tycoon and Wynn rival Sheldon Adelson, who is expected to sell shares in his company's Macau operations for trade in Hong Kong.

Wynn's U.S. shares climbed 3.8 percent to $69.91 in New York trade Thursday.